Radio Rant: Lukas Graham – “7 Years”

Hello, and welcome to Radio Rants. This is gonna hurt.

I’ll just be straight with y’all: there was a long stretch where Radio Rants were fueled almost entirely be me being a hater. It probably wasn’t fair to like, C-grade Katy Perry singles, but it’s how life was. As I’ve done this longer and gained some perspective, I’d like to think I’ve gotten more even-handed; something like “Same Old Love” might not move me, but it doesn’t bring the knives out, either. Everything deserves a chance, you know?

Then you get “7 Years,” and you just have to escalate the hate.

“7 Years” is by Danish band Lukas Graham, which is not where I expected that sentence to end before I researched it. The “Danish” part sounds about right since Scandinavians own 20% of the Top Ten at all times, but “band”? Turns out, Lukas Graham is a band consisting of  Lukas Graham Forchammer and some other dudes, so it’s like if Joseph Gordon-Levitt started a band name Joseph Gordon, only not at all, because JGL would probably debut them on Jimmy Fallon and it would be charming instead of insipid. But the buried lede here is that this man’s last name is Forchammer, and why is that not your band name? “Forchammer” is a killer band name. With a name like that, you could release a song as terrible as “7 Years,” and still be cool.

Okay, let me attempt some measure of fairness here. As a composition, “7 Years” is…acceptable. It’s anchored in that lightly soulful piano-pop sound that OneRepublic made big, and even has some Ryan Tedder-y sing-song melodicism that I guess isn’t entirely awful during the verses. It will probably be slow danced to during prom season, and might mean something to someone because of that, which is something any songwriter should be proud of. It won’t cause your headphones to catch on fire, always a plus.

It’s really hard for me to say nice things about “7 Years,” for reasons that aren’t entirely its fault. Don’t get me wrong: the song is cloying, oversung, and limply produced; by most objective measures it is not a good thing. Neither is Meghan Trainor’s “No,” but “No” doesn’t piss me off the same way. When I first heard “7 Years,” I said I was allergic to it, and I mean that almost literally; this is a song made up of the tropes I hate in pop music. It has that same crushing self-seriousness behind dopey twee that A Great Big World and Passenger had. Forchammer’s voice is an unholy combination of Nate Ruess’ pompous yelp and Tyler Joseph’s whiny, wild emoting, and lyrically, he lacks fun./Twenty One Pilots’ ability to turn a phrase while doubling down on their overwrought songwriting; he’s at Macklemore levels of earnest but without his necessary humility. “7 Years” fails just as a listen because it seems to be made by people who wanted a song by OneRepublic or The Fray, but without all that rambunctiousness. Put all this together, and it’s enough to make me break out in hives.

I didn’t think “7 Years” was by a Danish band whose leader is older than I am, I thought Lukas Graham was one of those YouTube youngins that fluked into a hit. The song has that sterile production you hear in YouTube artist’s work (that these guys don’t run in the same circles as Shawn Mendes astounds me), complete with pushing the vocals all the way to the front. More than that, “7 Years” reeks of the performative sincerity you find on YouTube. Put it this way: you know those comments you see on almost every hit song’s video that are like “This song is so REAL, and [artist] is so honest. Music is my life and my passion and I’d love it if you could check out my cover of this song or any of my originals on my channel because I’m just trying to make it. Peace and love”? “7 Years” feels like the original song you click over on, listen to for a minute, and put entirely out of mind.

“Once I was 7 years old, my mama told me/Go make yourself some friends or you’ll be lonely” Dude, your mom probably wanted you to go play with someone so she could have a minute to herself after the last 7 years, not because she wanted you to have peer attachment issues. I hope.

“By eleven smoking herb and drinking burning liquor” This seems like the kind of thing you could base a whole song around and not just a throwaway line in the first verse. Also, Forchammer has this super adolescent voice, so I thought being eleven for him might have been like five years ago.

“I started writing songs, I started writing stories” Again, YouTube comment begging for views: “I’m inspired to not just write songs, but stories. Check my channel for more.”

“Something about that glory just always seemed to bore me.” Liar.

“I only see my goals, I don’t believe in failure.” I promise you, someone you know has or will post this exact lyric as a meme on Facebook.

“Soon, we’ll be 30 years old, our songs have been sold/We’ve traveled around the world and we’re still roaming” Okay, so I know there’s a real chance that English isn’t Forchammer or whichever member’s first language, but you’ve gotta see this song’s Genius annotations. The one for this line is about how some people’s fire enables them to escape the solar system, and I can only wager this means Lukas Graham are working on a higher level than the rest of us.

I could keep bagging on the lyrics here, but I feel my throat closing up. “7 Years” is about growing up and wanting to do something with your life (#MillennialAngst, we meet again), but it’s such a hollow, chintzy sounding song that I can’t take it seriously, especially when the strings start working overtime at the bridge like it wants to be dramatic and shit. In terms of “pop soul,” Lukas Graham make Maroon 5 look like James Brown. Forchammer is an unimaginative writer and an overly chirpy vocalist; I feel kinda bad for hating on a dude who’s just trying to live his nearly 30-year-old life, but then I remember that “7 Years” starts and ends with the sound of a fucking movie projector and nope, it’s the worst again. I don’t want to remember “7 Years” in 7 years. I barely want to remember it in 7 days. Thankfully, it’s dull enough that I might get my wish.

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About bgibs122

I enjoy music and music culture; I hope you do, too.
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19 Responses to Radio Rant: Lukas Graham – “7 Years”

  1. Mini says:

    Thank you for being the voice of reason in this swamp of shit music. Your thoughts are my thoughts and I thank you for this. I was desperately searching for someone else that felt as I did… This kind of music indeed makes me feel like I am having an allergic reaction !!

  2. Terry says:

    This song is atrocious. Not only do the lyrics not make any sense (soon we’ll be 30 years old, then followed by soon I’ll be 60 years old???) but it’s just a dumb idea in general. You aren’t going to be 60 years old soon. Dear Lukas, please read the english definiton of “soon”. It’s just tired and overdone. The fact that I just found out the name of “band” is Lukas Graham just made me hate it more. This music makes me angry and I wanted someone to hear about it.

  3. alpacablog says:

    THANK YOU! I’m currently studying abroad in Denmark where this song began. I heard it a couple of times on the radio and thought “meh, I guess this is what they hear in Denmark” . . . until the virus spread and now all of a sudden it’s EVERYWHERE. The lyrics are so cliche it makes me cringe. “Once I was -insert random year here- old . . .” OK, we get it, you’re getting older!

  4. Andy B says:

    “Soon I’ll be 60 years old” makes me so annoyed – coming from a guy in his late 20s! No, Lukus, soon I’LL be 60 years old. You’ve got more than thirty years to go. And perhaps in the meantime you’ll write something meaningful and real. Sadly, I’ll probably be dead by the time you do.

  5. Vicky says:

    A very good post. I don’t really like the song, even though I don’t consider it nearly as horrible as Adele’s “Hello”, for example. Its whole idea’s cliched and overrated. The fact that we hear it played on the radio a million times a day makes it even more annoying. The lyrics are idiotic, as most of the commenters here have already noted. Still, I was hoping more people would notice just how ridiculous “Get yourself a WIFE” sounds as a piece of advice given to someone who’s “11 years old”. Well, the only ethnic group I know that gets married at the age of 11 are the gypsies (no offence). Should that mean the song-writer’s of the same ethnic group? (Just kidding) Also, what I particularly dislike is the point made in the song that ince you turn “60 years old” the only good thing you can hope for in life is getting visited by your children “once or twice a month’. Not only it dismisses child-free folks as potentially doomed to loneliness (ridiculous in itself), but it suggests 60-year-olds are already wasted, old and unnecessary (again ridiculous). Really, most of the ideas suggested in the lyrics aound to me very much typical the world-view prevalent in the 1940-50s… Not to mention the way he sings “thirty” and “sixty” sounds like “thirteen” and “sixteen”… It’s ridiculous.

  6. Janina says:

    The kind of lyrics that until 10 years ago only would have existed in a satire on bad corny songs.

  7. Elle says:

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who absolutely loathes this song!!! I need to leave rooms and ask uber drivers to change the station when it comes on. I agree that the lyrics are awful but I also just hate the way he sings the words like he’s afraid we don’t hear the end consonants – it’s like, oncea i wasa seven yearsa olda. Just no. I can’t tell if that’s why I also hate the melody or if the melody is also grating to me in and of itself – the whole song just sounds like an endless repetition of the same crappy loop. The worst part is that it’s the kind of song that easily gets stuck in your head (perhaps because it’s so loopy). I’ve seen people call this song catchy. That’s only a good thing if the song is good. If the song is bad, being catchy is really the worst trait. It feels like it’s been overplayed on the radio for, well, 7 years.

  8. Yao,aster says:

    I googled “once I was 7 years old is a shit song” and came to this page. It’s an enlightenment. I think the song artist sucked some dicks when he was 7 years old.

  9. Doghouse Reilly says:

    Hahahaaa! That’s how I found this page too. This is one of those songs the DJ at my weekly pub trivia game plays constantly, in between bro-country and moldy cheese from the AOR “golden age.” God, it makes me want to put my fist through a wall, but instead, I’ll just sing an extra verse, in Lukas’s cracking voice and silly accent: “Once I was thirteen years old. It was late November and my daddy carved the turkey. My mama gave me mashed potatoes and cranb’ry sauce and stewed tomatoes. I said I’d rather have some chips and guacamole, but all I got was stuffing and some green-bean casseroley. Once I was thirteen years old.” And the piano goes tinkle-ding-ding-ding …

  10. Doug says:

    I agree with this review. I have written over 200 songs myself and I feel I’m pretty generous with my praise in what I’m feeling about good songs. There are very few songs that I really dislike. But this one is at the top of the list. There doesn’t seem to be any melody to this song. It’s just a bunch of run-on sentences that sound awful. It’s boring as hell to me. I live in Ontario Canada and I was astounded when this song rose to number one on the charts here. I have no idea what the attraction is for this song for other people. Maudlin sentimentality at its worst.

  11. Glenn Basham says:

    I would pity anyone who despises this song more than I do. The way he pretentiously pronounces “Sooon uh be…” makes me cringe as if I had just caught my Grandfather fingering himself in the shitter. In fact, a song about catching my Grandfather fingering himself in the shitter would be more pleasurable to listen to than this. I would hazard a guess that even the sound it makes when one fingers himself in the shitter would sound better than this steaming pile of horse shit.

    tldr = it’s shit. Grandads finger stinks.

  12. The man who didnt like 7 years shitty song says:

    God, I hate this fucking song so much, the first time I heard it I thought oh just some another lame song. Then I looked its in top 10, and overplayed by radios. I just couldn’t figure out what was so special about this lame song.Every time I heard this song, I wanted to hit my head with the wall and scream,please someone make it stop. So, one day I decided I was gonna hear the whole song and see if it was actually as good as it was portrayed. It made me feel like It was a song for someone dying in a hospital or a elderly house and thinking of his shit life he had. Thank god there are other people like you who hate this song, for sometime I thought something was wrong with me for hating this song. hahaha

  13. Josie Haxton says:

    Due, you took the words from my mouth, I actually looked up in google “worst song ever 7 years old” and I found you. Glad I’m not the only one that feels this might be the worst song ever written but also preformed and recorded, I’m assuming his “rich” parents own a recording studio as well.

  14. TW says:

    Let’s not forget the incorrect usage of the word “once” in this god-awful song. I cringe each time I hear bad grammar in pop music.

  15. Lucas graham says:

    Agreed

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  17. Jarvis says:

    It is refreshing to see other people who aren’t impressed with the poor excuse for a song. it is nothing but a uninspired collage of old cliches cashing in on the fact that life and time are precious. A lot of people are quite aware of the fleeting nature of life and the implications of that; if people are not, there are lots of other songs that make the point in a much more intelligent way.

  18. Melis says:

    I too hate this song! his voice, the words, the tinkle of the piano. It is the most annoying song I have ever heard! so glad its not just me. It has a runner up, for most mundane redundant song now-Maroon 5-don’t want to know know know know know-kill me now!

  19. triago says:

    You took it easy on this song. Its just so juvenile and sappy. Kinda like a 7 year old who is crying for a lollipop. Every line more cliche than the last. please make him stop writing music.

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